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In a highly scrutinized launch, Discovery lifted off successfully Tuesday morning from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a 12-day flight with seven astronauts aboard. It was the first manned flight from the US since the 2003 Columbia disaster, which grounded the space shuttle program while NASA looked for ways to make such flights safer. Even so, a space agency rule was relaxed to make the delayed launch despite troubles with one of four fuel gauges. Discovery's crew will deliver supplies to the International Space Station and test techniques for inspecting and repairing the shuttle in orbit.

Rain brought relief from 100-degree F. temperatures Monday to parts of the Midwest, and scattered rainfall, heading across Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, was expected to cool off parts of those states Tuesday. To combat the heat, people coast to coast have been cranking up their air conditioners, causing near-record demand for electricity.

Army officials were assisting the Boy Scouts of America in an investigation of the deaths of four adult leaders, who were electrocuted Monday while setting up camp on opening day of the national Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. Three other adults, but no scouts, were hospitalized in the incident. Preliminary reports indicate a tent pole struck a power line.

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Voters in San Diego headed to the polls Tuesday, hoping to elect a mayor from a field of 11 candidates and end a civic leadership crisis. Incumbent Mayor Dick Murphy (R) won a highly disputed race last November, then resigned with the city in financial trouble. Last week, his interim replacement was suspended on corruption charges. If no one receives a majority of votes, the top two finishers will enter a runoff Nov. 8.

The Department of Energy unveiled a plan Monday to move a 12-million-ton pile of radioactive waste away from the Colorado River in southeastern Utah. Environmentalists say the material could leach into the soil and possibly poison the water supplies of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and other cities. The waste will be transported by rail, starting in 2007, to a proposed holding site in Crescent Junction, Utah.

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